National Graduate Showcase


Graduate Designers on Show at VAMFF

At any fashion festival, everyone clamours to see what the design students have come up with. At VAMFF, this is the National Graduate Showcase. It’s the runway that’s guaranteed to sell out. It’s the one where fashion watchers are packed in shoulder-to-shoulder to watch the runway. Its runway pulls the biggest crowd at VAMFF.

Catching the preparation back stage, we asked the designers to explain their creations and share their thoughts about being invited to showcase in Melbourne’s premier fashion event. Here’s what they had to say.

Yael Frischling, UTS, NSW: “I drew inspiration from Japanese joinery systems and developed a collection that is constructed with my own joinery techniques. There is no sewing involved and it is virtually zero waste.”

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Tess Tavener Hanks, UTS, NSW: “The collection FLUIDITY A/W 2018 was conceptually driven by the intention to alter how we see synthetic materiality in contemporary culture. An exploration of how unconventional and “valueless” materials have been used to bring a new perspective to the materials we use.

I was so honoured to be part of the National Graduate Showcase at VAMFF. I was truly blown away by the endless amount of support and dedication for young designers at such an incredible event.”

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Shaydn Gill, Whitehouse Institute of Design, Vic:  “The words by Australian artist Ken Done perfectly describe what I was trying to achieve with my collection: “Behind every picture that might attempt to be beautiful, there is a message, if you are there to receive it.”

No amount of words can describe the incredible feeling of seeing all your hard work going down the runway. It was such an honour to be a part of VAMFF and the National Graduate Showcase for 2018. It is a pretty phenomenal feeling when your reality is better than your wildest dreams.”

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Lisa Liu, UTS, NSW: “My graduate collection, SHOOTING KITES, was about the masculine military uniform. I wanted to subvert the typical perception of the uniform by making it hyperfeminine, playful and colourful.

It was surreal being at VAMFF and was so good to be able to link up with other emerging designers. Super grateful for the opportunity!”

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Lucy Dickinson, RMIT, VicMy collection, titled I THOUGHT I’D SEEN IT ALL BUT I HADN’T SEEN THAT was inspired by unusual customisation techniques used within subcultures, particularly those utilising unexpected materials not often found within fashion.

Being a part of VAMFF was so much fun! It’s an incredible platform to give to designers straight out of uni and I am so grateful that I was able to show my work in this way.

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Xiang Qiao Sheng: (Remy), RMIT, Vic:  “This collection LUXURY takes on a double meaning. Without using traditional luxurious material such as fur and leather as a conventional material for luxury design, I instead selected other materials to present forms such as snakeskin that aims to break the routine of traditional fashion and create a new sphere that embodies the philosophical meaning behind the idea of luxury.

Secondly, I tend to use artificial materials, displaying vibrant colours to represent luxury fashion, reveal the cruelty behind such luxury. The mirror snake dress uses reflective mirrors- the material to make disco balls and the back of the dress covered with Compact Discs, which reflects the extravagant nightlife indulging in hedonistic pleasure, however neglecting the tormented feature of the snake with its mouth open that signifies how such happiness is built on the suffering of animals.

One of the garments adopted thousands of pins, with each pin hand-made and crafted onto the dress. This exemplifies the time-consuming process and human cost to the concept of “luxury”.

VAMFF National Graduate Showcase

Images: Lucas Dawson Photography

Madeleine Jost: RMIT, Vic: “SO WE CAN REMEMBER is inspired by the innate ability of fashion and objects to spark memory and hold meaning. I’ve used textiles to explore theories of memory, with upholstery fabrications making constant reference to the home. Through linking fashion to memory and the home, I aimed to create a collection that encourages a more considered engagement between wearer and object.

Having the opportunity to show my graduate collection at VAMFF was an amazing experience that I feel really lucky to have had. This opportunity allowed me to reflect upon my collection and restyle it in a new light that felt 100 per cent me. The people behind the scenes at VAMFF are incredibly hard working and generous. They do it for the love of the job even though you might never know their name.”

VAMFF National Graduate Showcase

Image: Lucas Dawson Photography

Rachael O’Brien, UTS, NSW: “Within my collection I wanted to inspire new knowledge and curiosity about the production of fashion and textiles. To create garments and fabrications that resonate with traditional tailoring and weaving practices but have a new life and sensory interaction.

Being involved in VAMFF was an incredible opportunity to showcase my work and connect with so many different people. From fellow emerging designers to the countless people that produce the show and everyone who came to view our work on the night! I’m so thankful for the experience.”

VAMFF National Graduate Showcase

Image: Lucas Dawson Photography

Mikala Tavener Hanks, UTS, NSW:  “The collection reinterprets and subverts the classics with modern modifications on traditional items of dress. The garments streamline silhouettes and clean cuts are juxtaposed against raw edges and deconstructed digital prints.

It has been such an amazing platform to showcase my collection. I’m so grateful for all the wonderful people who support the National Graduate Showcase at VAMFF.”

VAMFF National Graduate Showcase

Runway Images: Lucas Dawson Photography

Isabella Raco, Whitehouse Institute of Design: “The name of my collection is Contradiction:Subject to Change. “Drawn to the inconsistencies and contradictions found in human behaviour, I was inspired by moments of cognitive dissonance found through the relationship between humans and their natural environment.

Being involved in VAMFF was a great experience, not only was it a great opportunity as an emerging designer, it also allowed me to work alongside the hard-working, creative individuals that make these shows possible.”

VAMFF National Graduate Showcase

Runway Images: Lucas Dawson Photography

Lucie Martyr: “Flowers and their representation of equality is the inspiration for my collection. Flowers have long been associated with women and their distracting beauty when in reality it is a true metaphor for all genders as a  flower is only considered perfect if it is hermaphrodite.

I loved being a part of VAMFF! It was an opportunity I thought I’d never dream of! Forever grateful and chuffed that my work was chosen.”

VAMFF National Graduate Showcase

Runway Images: Lucas Dawson Photography

Photos: Dimitra Koriozos (unless stated)




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